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News Transport fears as homes agreed

SEPARATE schemes to build 886 homes along Sutton Road in Maidstone have been given the go- ahead, despite KCC concerns over transport measures. Downs Mail reported last month

that the three proposals – Langley Park (TaylorWimpey, 600 homes), north of Sutton Road (Bellway, 186 homes) and west of Bicknor Road (Redrow, 100 homes) – were de- ferred because Maidstone Coun- cil’s planning committee questioned the Section 106 agree- ment to add an extra lane to part of Sutton Road and wanted a viabil- ity assessment on affordable hous- ing.

The committee has now accepted

all three applications, yet Peter Ro- sevear, strategic transport planner at KCC, felt the council should not commit to widening the north- bound A274 towards the Wheat- sheaf roundabout and giving buses priority between 7.30am and 9.30am on weekdays. He said: “There may be other de-

velopments going forward in this area in the future, and flexibility is important. KCC is in favour of strategic transport improvements to deal with the growth of this area of Maidstone and we are against being tied to a specific scheme, par- ticularly with bus priority.” Cllr Stephen Paine, cabinet mem-

ber for planning and a committee member, said section 106 devel- oper contributions had to be put into specific schemes or they would be challengeable. He said: “We can’t do nothing and let the

Sutton Road is to be widened towards the Wheatsheaf junction

traffic increase. There will be more crossing points, which means that rather than dissect communities they will be brought together. “We are not proposing to take

out trees; we want to improve an area of appalling air quality.” Lib Dem members of the com-

mittee had cooled on the idea of a park-and-ride on the site, which they previously called for in view of it being earmarked for the site in the 2000 local plan. Therewas also an acceptance that

30% affordable housing on each of the schemes was acceptable, given that developers were putting sec- tion 106 money towards widening Sutton Road,Willington Street junc- tion improvements, better road crossings, a new primary school at Langley Park and new health and sports facilities in the area.

Cllr Chris Garland, the KCC

leader and substitute member of the committee, said that KCC mod- elling did not support a park-and- ride facility at Langley Park. He said the proposals, if refused, would be accepted on appeal: “These developments are coming, whetherwewant them or not, and we have to make them work.”  Cllr Tony Harwood, acting leader of the Lib Dems and key member of the planning commit- tee, had to leave the debate early as he was called out to deal with flooding problems. Cllr Harwood works as an emergency planner for KCC and on the day of the meeting (February 6) had not had a day off since Christmas Eve.  Committee member Cllr Daniel Moriarty said hewould prefer bus laybys to widening Sutton Road.

To see the full details of the applications in last month’s Downs Mail, log on to, click Read Online then Publication Archive then Town Feb 2014 and scan to page 12.

Restaurant plan Get your wheels towork!

ANEWrestaurant could be located next to Morrison’s in the former Army and Navy store in Week Street, Maidstone. Last December the supermarket

chain opened a M Local store on the site on the corner of St Faith’s Street. Circle Property Manage- ment has applied for a 270sqm restaurant, the identity of which was undisclosed, in the south part of the building at ground floor level. Maidstone Council will de- termine the application.

Police choir date

THE Kent Police Male Voice Choir will perform at TheVine Church in Boughton Lane, Loose, at 7.30pm on Saturday, March 29. The event has been organised by Friends of Maidstone Day Centre in support of homeless and vulner- able people. For details, call Paul Rodman on 07966 424945 or the day centre on 01622 674064.

34 Maidstone Town March 2014

A MOPED loan scheme has been launched to help Kent residents get to work. The scheme, run by East Surrey

Rural Transport Partnership (ESRTP) and backed by a grant from KCC, is open to anyone over 16 who has full time work, train- ing or education that is difficult to get to by public transport Applicants must have a provi-

sional or full licence and riders under 18 will need a parent or guardian to act as a guarantor.

The weekly loan charge is £28

plus VAT, which includes use of a taxed and insured moped, safety helmet, padded reflective jacket and gloves. It also includes servic- ing and a one-day training course. Moped loan is usually for up to

a year, but can be extended in ex- ceptional circumstances. Applications are available from w.htm or 01883 732791. For more details, call scheme coordinator Andrea Moore on 07827 663272.

Rogue traders take advantage of flood chaos

POLICE have warned residents af- fected by badweather to beware of rogue traders after incidents in Downswood and Allington. A man called at a property in Downswood saying he had been sent to undertake repairs by the landlord. The occupant told him the housewas privately owned and

the caller left. AnAllington man received a call supposedly from South EastWater about his water meter. The man arranged for a visit that day. Two men arrived and asked for £140 for repairs. The resident said he only had £100, which the pair took. Chief Insp Lee Russell said:

“Where floods have damaged vehi- cles and homes some rogue traders try to cash in by offering repair work. In some cases they have no intention of carrying out thework.” Suspicious callers should be re- ported to Consumer Direct on 08454 040506. Further advice can be found on the Kent Policewebsite.

Views from the villages

Langley Parish Council chairman Cheryl Taylor-Maggio welcomed the widening of Sutton Road, but was concerned about an increase of traffic in Horseshoes Lane. She called for traffic cameras to en- force a 7-tonne weight limit on Leeds Road.

On the day of the meeting Cllr Gordon Newton, who represents Downswood and Otham, under- took his own traffic survey and- found that about 750 vehicles used Gore Court Road, a country lane, between 8am and 9am, more than double the number claimed in a KCC study six years ago. He said the Sutton Road widening scheme would do little to reduce traffic as the road would revert back to two lanes north be- yond the Wheatsheaf pub.

Cllr Richard Ash, chairman of Bearsted Parish Council, called for the closure of Gore Court Road to Sutton Road traffic to prevent rat running for vehicles using M20 junctions 7 and 8.

Cllr Stephen Munford, ward mem- ber for Boughton Monchelsea, thought Section 106 money would have been better spent on establishing a footpath along Br- ishing Lane. He also called for en- hanced water storage to reduce flooding at Quarry Road.

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